Bikes & Gear

Evaluations & Recommendations

Road Dirt Rides Nikens

We rolled into the parking lot of Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, anticipating an enjoyable walk back through the annals of American motorcycle history. As with everywhere we rode the Yamaha Nikens, a gathering of gawkers closed in, slack jawed and cameras snapping. An old curmudgeon in a “brand specific” shirt shuffled up to Ted, who was still removing his helmet, and loudly asked in a deep Southern drawl, “Whut da hail is ‘at??” Ted smiled and replied, “It’s a Yamaha Niken.” Before he could offer any details, the old codger declared, “Ha, more like a Yamaha nuthin!” There was a brief moment of stunned silence on our part, as he ambled around the bike, chuckling. Did this clown really just insult the motorcycle of a total stranger??

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Lost in Translation

There are few universal truths in the world, but one I’ve come to learn with regard to motorcycle repair is that if an aftermarket part promises it will fit, you can be damn sure it won’t. Inevitably, something always gets lost in translation. Yet knowing these dangers, I still venture into the world of aftermarket parts hoping and praying that things will be different this time.

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Hot Laps In A Honda Talon

Recently I was given the opportunity by American Flat Track and Honda Powersports to take a ride in a modern version of those old buggys, a Honda Talon 1000X-4 side-by-side. At the Dixie Speedway round of the AFT season, they gave me the chance to not only experience a ride in one of these beasts, but we would run several hot laps around the track to experience the thrill of powering and sliding it across the Georgia red clay.

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2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Review

I spent the beautiful September day up in the north Georgia foothills, visiting my childhood chum Kent Giles (a military fiction writer) at his hermitage in Marble Hill, and tooling around the Jasper/Coal Mountain area on my last full day with the Tiger 900. A gloomy weekend of rain had given way to abundant sunshine, cool breezes, and being a Monday, largely empty back roads. Diving the Tiger through curves and corners, I suddenly came upon a tight, right-turner that I couldn’t see through. Downshifting and scrubbing off some mph, I shifted weight and leaned through the curve, only to find a patch of wet, right at the apex, laden with an amalgam of brown/red leaves and corner grit. No braking, a slight roll off the gas, and some considerable anal pucker, but the Tiger held the line, tracked through without a hiccup, and I continued on my merry way. Albeit, a bit more measured, we’ll call it.

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